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Robotics and Science for Station Crew

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:24 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 30 crew members living and working aboard the orbiting International Space Station worked with robotics and participated in a variety of science experiments Thursday while their counterparts on the ground continued preparations for their upcoming launch on Wednesday.

Commander Dan Burbank assembled Robonaut 2 and powered it up to run it through a series of tests. The planned operation and tests of Robonaut’s joints and force sensors were cancelled due to a fault message with no time left for troubleshooting the issue. The testing will be picked up at a later date.

Robonaut is the first humanoid robot in space, and although its primary job for now is teaching engineers how dexterous robots behave in space, the hope is that through upgrades and advancements, it could one day venture outside the station to help spacewalkers make repairs or additions to the station or perform scientific work.

Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked with the Coulomb Crystal experiment, which gathers data about charged particles in a weightless environment. He also collected surface and air samples throughout the station and transferred cargo from the docked ISS Progress 45 resupply ship.

Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin worked in the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory performing maintenance and setting up a laptop computer. He also worked with the Russian Uragan Earth observations program that studies natural and man-made disasters from space.

Meanwhile, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers continued preparations for their launch to the station scheduled for 8:16 a.m. EST Wednesday. After a two-day journey, the trio will dock to the station’s Rassvet module at 10:20 a.m. Dec. 23.

Power was restored to the Johnson Space Center Thursday morning, following repairs to an issue outside the center. Systems and facilities are being returned to normal and the center opened at 1 p.m. The Mission Control Center continues to operate normally, having been powered by backup generators.

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